S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

With chronic illnesses being the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, “Passport to STEMulating Healthy Lifestyles” (Passport) addresses this problem through a series of integrated program that targets girls in 6th through 9th grade along with their mothers and grandmothers. Seven out of 10 Americans die from chronic disease each year when most of these deaths were preventable. Of the 1.7 million people that die each year, 70% are from preventable chronic diseases. About 133 million Americans or 1 out of 2 adults have at least one chronic illness; and 58% are between the ages of 18 and 64. African Americans and Hispanic Americans have an untoward amount of these incidents. The lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco, and alcohol consumption account for the majority of these deaths. The six (6) most common chronic diseases are: heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Due to socioeconomic realities in the African American and Hispanic communities, there is a higher incidence of contracting one of these health conditions through poor nutritional and lifestyle choices. The Passport Program uses a multi-generational model to effect behavior change by mentoring students through exposure to community health education, knowledge of the six most chronic health issues, and empowerment to make healthier lifestyle choices. By involving each student’s mother and grandmother, the Health and Human Services Facet helps the participants to develop an internal – system within each family to support and sustain the implementation of healthy lifestyle choices in an effort to reduce health disparities and chronic illnesses. Program Description: The “Passport to S.T.E.M.ulating Healthy Lifestyle” (Passport) is a three-tier intergenerational program implemented in partnership with the Missouri City Chapter of The Links, Inc., which seeks to modify unhealthy behavioral choices and patterns of sixty (60) minority middle school girls, their mothers and grandmothers at ” Energized for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy” (E-STEM).

The three program tiers are explicated:

• Tier I introduces the students to the preponderance of unhealthy lifestyles that permeate their community. 

• Tier II educates the mothers and grandmothers on the importance of modeling healthy lifestyles in the home environment, beyond the field experience.

• Tier III seeks to modify the intergenerational “healthy lifestyle” behavior through use of the “Passport” and behavior modification model. 

The program introduced and exposed the students, their mothers, and grandmothers to healthy lifestyle choices and behavior modifications through a variety of field based experiences focused on self-esteem building, eliminating health risks, and reducing the incidence of chronic illness. Students were given an official life-size “Passport” to monitor and track their participation and progress of themselves, their mothers, and grandmothers. The passport established an incentive system that awarded stickers to the students throughout the program. The passport is a symbol of achievement during their lifestyle journey. It recorded their attendance, participation, mother/grandmother’s attendance. Too, it includes: post assessment on field based experiences; completion of health-related research project; and completed behavior modification logs track and trend positive lifestyle adaptations.

Interested in the S.T.E.M. Program? Click Here to Register!

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